KARACHI – In an effort to curb the hoarding of the US dollar, the State Bank of Pakistan has introduced a plan that mandates biometric verification for individuals purchasing $500 and above from exchange companies.
High-ranking officials from the central bank disclosed during a meeting of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) Apex Committee on January 3, 2024, that this initiative is part of broader reforms in the exchange companies sector, according to an official at the SIFC Secretariat who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Pakistan is grappling with a dollar crisis due to lower-than-expected exports and remittances, with a substantial portion of the foreign currency being used to finance imports. Additionally, unscrupulous actors exploit the situation by hoarding US dollars to capitalize on windfall profits.
The SIFC was informed that the State Bank of Pakistan has also revised the US dollar purchase limit for travel purposes, reducing it from $10,000 to $5,000 for individual transactions and from $60,000 to $30,000 annually.
Customers making US dollar purchases of $2,000 or more from exchange companies will be required to use funds from their Pakistani Rupee accounts.
For individual customers, the central bank has set a daily US dollar purchase limit of $10,000 and an annual limit of $100,000.
As part of these reforms, the Federal Investigation Agency will collaborate with the State Bank of Pakistan and other relevant stakeholders to launch an effective crackdown against illegal foreign exchange operators.
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